Passive solar energy is the method of using the sun’s energy with no additional manipulation. Often, this energy is utilized through a structure’s orientation and design.
An example of passive energy would be using large, precisely placed skylights for light and heat. The energy from the sun is used directly, without any mechanisms or technology.
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When a building uses passive energy, the cost of technologies is diminished while the total energy output is increased. Often, smaller technologies are used in place of large scale active energy mechanisms, greatly reducing the cost of production and energy lost.
A number of features can be combined to reduce the need for mechanical cooling and heating, and other uses of active energy. Buildings built on an east-west axis can often get better use out of solar energy. Homes and structures that are built to use natural light and ventilation are powered significantly by passive solar energy.
The use of additional technology to convert the sun’s rays into solar energy often leads to higher costs and less energy output. By using passive solar energy, energy costs can be significantly reduced.
(Text by Jessica Leader)
Photo by Jason Pratt/Flickr